CRAWFORD | Playoffs? Please. Bobby Petrino laughs at your playof - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Playoffs? Please. Bobby Petrino laughs at your playoff questions

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WDRB photo by Eric Crawford. WDRB photo by Eric Crawford.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Let’s play a game of University of Louisville football “Jeopardy.” Here are your clues:

— Rick Pitino wearing a suit off the rack.
— A unicorn winning the Kentucky Derby
— Rick Bozich wearing Chicago Cubs gear.

The Answer? What are, ‘Things you will never see,’ Alex.

But all of those might be easier than getting Louisville football coach Bobby Petrino to speculate about his team’s chances of making the College Football Playoff — especially in the middle of the season.

You have to make the effort, of course. I mean, it’s a natural question to ask. Reporters at Petrino’s regular Monday news conference gave it the old college try.

They might as well have been asking to call a play in the Cardinals’ next game. Oh, they were clever, taking several approaches.

“With the first playoff vote next Tuesday, do you feel the need to make a big statement in terms of points and perhaps leave players in a little longer?”

Petrino: “No, we just want to go out and play well. I think one of the things that we’ve really tried to harp on with our football team is let’s not worry about the scoreboard, let’s do a good job on the process and playing your best and getting ready each play and executing your job on each play. Then the scoreboard takes care of itself. I like the way our players have handled that.”

Strike one. Next up.

“Of all the coaches following the game, when Ohio State loses, do you have an emotional reaction?”

Petrino: “Uh, I didn’t. I can’t speak for the other coaches. But, you know, we’re just trying to get better and work on playing the game that we get to play. That’s the one thing that we have to understand — the game we can play, we need to understand it and have fun doing it and go out and play our best.”

Strike two. Better come at it from another direction.

“Bobby, talking a little about the playoff, just a thought, should it go to an eight-team playoff? Do you have any thoughts about that? Do you think it ever will?”

Petrino (laughing):  “Those are things I really don’t think a lot about. You know, Maybe in the offseason you sit down and think about it a little. I always liked it before we had the playoff. I thought that all the controversy is what grew college football. It’s what made college football get to its all-time highest, was all the controversy on who won the championship, who’s in what bowl game, all that. Then we have the playoffs, and it was little strange that you kept four teams in five conferences, so the math doesn’t add up there. But I think it’s locked in for a while on four. But you guys think about those things way more than I do, particularly at this time of the year.”

I’m going to say that one was fouled out of play. There actually was the beginning of a stance in all that. Better throw another pitch.

“If we talk to you a month from now, are you likely to be in a more political mode, campaigning?”

Petrino: “Campaigning for what?”

“Well, the playoff.”

Petrino: “Campaigning for an eight-team playoff?

“No, campaigning for your presence in the playoff.”

Petrino: “I think it just takes care of itself. I don’t think anyone’s going to care what I have to say. Whether we’re going to get in the playoffs or not, let’s go out on the field and try to perform very well and show the world we’re a good football team, and hopefully it would all take care of itself the right way. And like I said before and last week, there’s a lot of football left to be played out there, there’s going to be a lot of things come up, so let’s see where we’re at.”

All right, that’s bordering on an answer. He didn’t say whether he’d campaign or not, but noted that he didn’t think it would make a difference anyway, which is a valid point. Another foul ball pulled down the third base line.

Final question: “How does it speak to how far the program has come that we’re six wins, we’re bowl eligible, and we don’t talk about it? It’s like it used to be a big deal, and now it’s like, the bar is higher, right?”

I’ll field this one. That’s an automatic strike three call for use of the word “we.” But let's see what Petrino does with it.

Petrino's answer: “Yeah it seems to be a little higher now, so that’s good. We’re where we want to be, but we’re striving to get to the next step. We just have to play each game with our own focus and execution and concentration so we can continue to move forward.”

Long story short — he’s not going to talk about it. He didn’t have to channel Jim Mora’s famous “Playoffs?” rant, but he might have to before all this is over.

Now, look, for me to sit here and put down all the playoff speculation would be disingenuous. It will be the talk of this city and fan base for the next month. The first CFP Rankings come out in a little more than a week and you’d better believe Louisville’s position in those will be big news, and it should be. You’re going to talk about it. I’m going to talk about it. (Oh, and watch me talk about it on WDRB News at 10 tonight and on WDRB News in the Morning on Tuesday.)

But to make sure all that speculation means anything, Petrino and his team will have to be better and better at blocking out all the talk with each victory from here on. They’ll have to try to use the opportunity before them to make them better, to work on them in such a way that they focus more, not less, on what they need to be doing.

And they’ll still need some luck. Things can change in a week. Just compare the discussion last Monday to today. A week ago Louisville was buried at No. 7 in the national rankings with marquee games on the schedule ahead in short supply. Today they’re at No. 5, and if it were a horse race, the Cardinals would be in perfect stalking position.

You can waste a lot of time plotting out scenarios.

But with the season just more than halfway over, don’t get attached to your best-laid plans. All of this is for entertainment purposes only. But it’s entertainment value is some of the highest in sports. So enjoy it.

Copyright 2016 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.

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